Monday, February 15, 2010

The Future of Star Wars

In my talking about 'Controlling the Universe'—and in my own divergence from canon, I have lately been considering what MY Star Wars galaxy is gong to look like in its future. I have already decided that I will not be 'rehashing' all the cliches of the setting again. I do not see the Republic falling after 40 years and chaos reigning thereafter. Rather, I see the start of another 'Golden Age' of the Republic, a rebuilding of all that has been lost during the war and a return to consolidation, expansion and exploration.

This, of course, goes directly against established canon. And more so, it seems to go against the central theme of the setting Star WARS. Without a 'War' it really still the same game? Well, my answer to this is—there will always be wars. But in the future I see, they would be limited in scope. There would still be friction with the Empire and the Sith. Various corporate and independent powers could still cause trouble.

But honestly, I am getting a little sick of the constant titanic-scale combat being waged through the galaxy. First the movie trilogies, then the Ssi'Ruuk invasion (Aliens from the boonies), then the Thrawn invasion (Imperial remnants), then the Dark Empire invasion (Imperial Remnants), then the Yevethan Invasion (Aliens from the boonies), then the Vong invasion (more Aliens from the boonies), then the Swarm War (more aliens from the boonies) then another Republic civil war, then a Sith invasion... gah. By that time, the economy of the galaxy, not to mention it's infrastructure, should be shot to hell. And also, as you can see from the above, things start to get repetitive.

So, what is the answer for me and my own campaign? How can I have a 'Golden Age', while still maintaining a 'Star Wars' setting. The lower-scale conflict thing mentioned above is a good start. This ensures there is still danger and intrigue going on, even if folks aren't out blowing up entire planets. Spy and diplomatic work will be paramount—establishing and maintaining peace across an entire galaxy will be very tricky indeed. Threats can still be of a very high-level, but the 'war' against them will largely be waged in shadow. This is especially true of such threats as the Sith—who will be a constant menace to the Republic and its Jedi guardians.

I also see the emphasis of the setting going from war to exploration—opening up all sorts of opportunities for people to face unknown challenges. I would hesitate to swing too far into the 'Star Trek' aspect of something like this—because the genres are VERY distinct from eachother. But in all honesty, an Exploration campaign in Star Wars is very workable—just look at the Darkstryder campaign. The idea behind it is largely exploration (even if they did gum up the works a bit by forcing a specific plot-line).

It was this exploration aspect that really got me thinking. In my game, it has been established that there /IS/ intergalactic travel. My main villain race, the Nagai, are from another galaxy, having crossed over from their own to conquer the Republic. The Republic itself has experimental trans-galactic technology as well—in the form of a 'Star Gate' (though at the time of writing this, they have only just been testing it). If you throw this into the mix, then you could easily expand the scope of Star Wars by opening up a new 'frontier' in a new Galaxy. Imagine exploration teams in this new place, encountering new races and governments—and threats. There are all kinds of political ramifications of this, especially if there were some new 'bad guy' organization in this new place. Does the Republic stand by and let peace-loving races be overrun? Does it ally itself and risk (another) intergalactic war?

Well, it is Star WARS, so, yes, I imagine that would happen. And this time, it would be DIFFERENT from rehashing the same old stuff. From a GM viewpoint, its like having my cake and eating it too. I mean, on the one hand, I have a relatively stable Galactic Republic, able to exist, grow and heal the wounds of decades of war and turmoil. But on the other, I have a 'brand new Galaxy' that may very well be on the verge of its own titanic scale war. New enemies, new power structures, new dynamics. Plenty of room for small groups of explorer/soldiers to make a big impact and become heroes on a Galactic Scale. And all in a way that doesn't follow the tired thread of '...another alien race invades' or 'the empire/sith rise...again'.

What could some of the powers in this New Galaxy look like?

Well, why not new Force User traditions—completely unaffected by the Jedi/Sith thing.

Imperial Renegades? Maybe a rogue Imperial faction/fleet tries to carve out a corner of this new galaxy for itself—providing some familiar faces, but in unexpected places.

The Vong? I hated the novels, but I loved the concept of the race. What's to stop them from being the 'big baddies' of THIS Galaxy?

A gagillion new Alien species and governments. I picture a much less unified Galaxy, with lots of smaller 'empires' (and races), rather than one galaxy-spanning organization.

Corporate Exploiters. Big corps from the Star Wars Galaxy trying to exploit new markets—often at the expense of safety and ethics.

These are just a few things off the top of my head, but I know I could easily add to this list. The prospect of it excites me. In fact, on the way back from South Dakota, Steve2 and I talked a lot about this—and even the prospect of starting a 'new' campaign—playing the sons and daughters (or other 'descendants') of the original Vermillion campaign characters. Just push the timeline ahead 20 years or so and there you are.

Of course, this wouldn't come at the expense of the 'old' campaign. Nobody is ready to give that up, I don't think. I'm certainly not. But I think it would be a fun and interesting addition to the story we've created thus far. I had meant to email the guys with this first, but hell, I'll post it here and email them later and see what they think about a 'new campaign'...and about the idea in general.


  1. Bob say...

    Tusken raiders in broken down troop transports with impressed Jawa crews rampaging across known space looking for a nice dessert planet. You know you want to see what Bob's horde is gonna do.

  2. Bob - that's a scary thought.

    Rolo - I agree that the constant "war" from various aliens (aka alien of the week) and yet another civil war gets old. With all of the conflict, there would be nothing left on any of the planets to save. I do like the vision of a New Republic that is somewhat stable.

  3. I am VERY pro-EU... but I do have to agree. The constant re-invasions get a bit tiresome. A new Golden Age would be preferable. Unfortunately, Episode VII looks like it might be going the opposite direction and making things WORSE off for the character than the EU did. :-(